The scenario is one of four that SABMiller has developed with the help of innovation consultancy, Innovia Technology, to imagine what brewing will look like 20 years from now.
Marginal Survival is the most extreme scenario under which the world is faced with major water and energy limitations forcing people to migrate from areas of water shortage or turbulent weather.
In such a situation SABMiller imagines that brewers could build smaller, mobile breweries that would move from place to place on the back of a ship. An illustration of such a water bound brewery is given below:
Explaining the logic behind the brewing ship idea, Rob Wilkinson, Director of Innovia, said: “The example of the brewery on a ship is entirely feasible.
“It would allow for rapid entry to new markets, especially where no infrastructure is in place, it would provide flexibility in positioning and length of stay and allow SABMiller to move with water sources, with people, with crops, or even away from severe weather, natural disasters or political instability.”
Wilkinson emphasised that such a vision is only intended as “food for thought” and is not a blueprint for building new facilities.
Other scenarios envisaged by SAB Miller and Innovia are less extreme but would nonetheless require changes to the current modus operandi. All four scenarios revolve around different degrees of water and energy availability. The other three are “Energy Deprived”, “Water Scarce” and “Plentiful Supply”.
Even under the last, most optimistic possible outcome, SAB Miller said sustainability and environmental stewardship remain key drivers.
Explaining why the company thought it important to consider these future scenarios, Maurice Egan, the group head of manufacturing at SAB Miller said: “Whilst this research has produced some imaginative solutions, the business case behind the thinking is very serious.
“We need to ensure that, given the rapid pace of technological developments, the impacts of climate change and growing wealth in developing economies, SABMiller has the capability to define, design and deploy our future breweries and supply chains.”